Review #13 // Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1) – Sylvain Neuvel


After falling into a large hole and onto a large giant’s hand as a young girl, Dr. Rose Franklin is chosen to investigate the meaning of the body part years later. Soon enough, she’s leading a search to discover the rest of the body parts and what their meaning.

Why this book?: Sci-fi, robots, and aliens. Also, it’s like a mix of Illuminae (read review here), The Martian, and The X-Files! Perfect.

A X-Files-esque feeling

Upon cracking this book open, I immediately fell in love with the story-telling and the plot woven intricately in. The story was told in a series of interviews with an unidentified man. Sometimes there was a news-clip thrown in, or a transcription of military video or airline tower radio contact. With that type of format, it gave a lot of free reign with how you pictured characters, with only knowing their personality.

I fell in love with Rose and Kara, and for quite a while I believed there was be a relationship in the works between them. There were a few other characters, Ryan, Vincent, Alyssa, and, of course, our unnamed interviewer. I really enjoyed how Ryan was described as a “Captain America”, and that Vincent was his near complete opposite.

The story Neuvel was trying to tell was so interesting as well. The idea that there was a higher race that had left behind body parts for us to find, I was hooked. I read off the glow of my phone long into the night, making it up to 20% before I finally realized the time was past 1 in the morning and time for me to sleep.

Clumsy planning shows through

After the plot got to a certain point, it just fell apart from there. The files of interviews were so far apart, sometimes years, that I quickly lost track of how long had passed since they had started the investigation.They also made a lot of scenes hard to understand. They wouldn’t be described at all, and would only be told through the characters verbal reactions  Sometimes random characters would be thrown in or out of the files, which would really put a damper on the telling of the story, mainly because scenes would be told from someone when it would have been better being told from someone else.

It also felt as if Neuvel was just winging the entire thing. As said before, the plot fell apart. It made no sense where the story was trying to go, and after a certain length, the author realized that as well. So instead of trying to go back and figure out where he went wrong, he quickly finished up the book, rushing the ending, and plopped this confusing epilogue that is supposed to make me want to go out and get the second book.

Everything just felt wrong. The ending was rushed, and it was obvious that Neuvel had no idea where he was going after a certain moment. So he just made it up, seemingly not trying to connect where pieces went with how. He would give incomplete clues, and then jump to this random conclusion that made no sense with what he gave us.

Final Rating: ★★★☆☆


As much as I loved the characters, I was fighting to get through the end because I really wasn’t focused on the story any more. Neuvel could have made this a wonderful and mesmerizing story if he had planned for the formatting to fit his plot, or add some more chapters to make sure everything made sense.

Unfortunately, even I was hooked in with the ending. I saw what was coming the moment I saw it was an interview with an unknown subject, so it made me all the more excited because some of the pieces lined up for me. If I see the book anywhere, NetGalley, the library, I’ll probably check it out just to see if my inklings are correct.

Would I Recommend?

If you’re a fan of the X-Files, you might find some aspects of this book interesting. I certainly find them amusing, and I thought I would love this book. Certain things didn’t line up though. I would certainly give it a try, because it was still an amazing idea.

25733990Additional Information:

Published: April 26th, 2016

Publisher: Del Rey

Page Count: 322

Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy/Thriller

Synopsis: via Goodreads

A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved—its origins, architects, and purpose unknown. Its carbon dating defies belief; military reports are redacted; theories are floated, then rejected.

But some can never stop searching for answers.

Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the provenance of the relic. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unraveling history’s most perplexing discovery—and figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result prove to be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?

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